Long hair gathered elegantly, ample drapery and a tome supported in the right hand: the “Saint with a book” statue is one of the works chosen by the Veneranda Fabbrica for the Adopt a Statue project, the initiative that aims at enhancing and making available once again some works which, for preservation reasons, have been removed from their original location on the Monument. Works that, however, are still able to tell the public their story, at times even symbolically going overseas to do so, as in this case.
From Piazza del Duomo, the nerve centre of Milan, against which the silhouette of the Cathedral stands out, to a smaller more hidden area located in the heart of the city, in Piazzetta Bossi 3. Today, the “Saint with a book” finds her place right here, in this small space, where the new Milan office of the American bank Citi is located.
Adopt a Statue has thus become an opportunity for the invaluable enhancement and the giving of new life to these masterpieces of art.
Thanks to Citi's awareness and following authorisation from the Superintendence of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape for the metropolitan city of Milan, the work has been the subject of restoration, thanks to which the precious details that characterise this figure have been revealed once more, offering tangible testimony to the skilful work carried out by the succession of specialised workers from the Veneranda Fabbrica's various work sites. From the marble's extraction from the Candoglia quarry, to the processing of its pieces at the Marble Workshop on the outskirts of Milan, and up to the Duomo Site where it is positioned on the Monument. The life of the “Saint with a book”, such as those of all the Cathedral's statues, came about through this journey down the marble's supply chain as it passes into the expert hands of workers, stonemasons, and restorers.
The statue, also called “Woman with a book”, was made based on the model by Francesco Brambilla, a sculptor who worked for the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo from 1572 to 1585. The fact that the Saint is holding a book in her hand is a rather common element in Christian representations and clearly references fidelity to the Holy Scriptures: this is why, despite the use of various denominations, consensus is inclined to identify the statue as a Saint. The work, a copy of which has replaced the original on the Monument, was originally located in the Apse area, which is also the oldest part of the Duomo and where the construction of the Monument began in the second half of the 14th century.
The initiative has also been possible thanks to Artfin Srl, a company that has been offering strategic and targeted project advice in artistic and cultural fields for 21 years.
Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano
Via Carlo Maria Martini 1, 20122 Milan
Freephone number (Italy only): 800.528.477